It took the toy company Lego to look into the relative value of play in overall children’s development.
Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation, states that pushing children towards numbers and language earlier and earlier means that they miss out on the early play-based learning that helps develop creativity, problem-solving and empathy.
The Lego foundation has been around for 29 years! Its mission is now to challenge the status quo by redefining play and reimagining learning.
Rasmussen grew up in Denmark. She remembers that there was more time to play if only because there were fewer planned activities than there are now.
Lego happens to identify five types of play:
- With rules;
- With objects;
Lego most recently decided to fund research at Cambridge University. The collaboration will lead to a better understanding of play affects learning and wellbeing.
If kids are to begin school at an early age, Rasmussen does not believe that this should exclude the notion of play. Quite the contrary, she believes that both play and content education can be delivered together.
Lego could definitely be on to something. One could think that Piaget, based on his writings, would tend to agree with Lego.